A Heterogeneous Spiking Neural Network for Unsupervised Learning of Spatiotemporal Patterns

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This paper introduces a heterogeneous spiking neural network (H-SNN) as a novel, feedforward SNN structure capable of learning complex spatiotemporal patterns with spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) based unsupervised training. Within H-SNN, hierarchical spatial and temporal patterns are constructed with convolution connections and memory pathways containing spiking neurons with different dynamics. We demonstrate analytically the formation of long and short term memory in H-SNN and distinct response functions of memory pathways. In simulation, the network is tested on visual input of moving objects to simultaneously predict for object class and motion dynamics. Results show that H-SNN achieves prediction accuracy on similar or higher level than supervised deep neural networks (DNN). Compared to SNN trained with back-propagation, H-SNN effectively utilizes STDP to learn spatiotemporal patterns that have better generalizability to unknown motion and/or object classes encountered during inference. In addition, the improved performance is achieved with 6x fewer parameters than complex DNNs, showing H-SNN as an efficient approach for applications with constrained computation resources.

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